Dinner With James
I'm now going to share with you
one of my favorite people in the whole wide world.
When the time comes for me to sit
back and enjoy a hearty evening meal I usually dial
up Hulu or
some similarly video-heavy web site for a little light
entertainment. For the past week or so I've been
watching episodes of "The
Day the Universe Changed"
Never heard of it? That's a shame as it's one of
the most entertaining and enlightening science programs
I've ever seen. And, yes, I saw it when it debuted
It's host and creator (and writer and producer),
Professor James Burke, a man with whom I'd be honored
to share a
this ten part series to illustrate how small scientific
advances leapfrog one another to become indispensible
parts of our modern world. Things like printing,
medicine, physics and relativity, stuff like that.
Mr. Burke also created the equally fascinating "Connections",
an earlier ten-part series which demonstrated how
primitive ideas formed the foundation for
more complicated discoveries. How everything, you
know, connects. It's a subtle difference thematically
from "Universe" but equally enthralling.
Both series are available
on Youtube (and in book form) and I urge you to check
them out. Your brain will thank you for it.
One of the episodes of "The
Day the Universe Changed" ended with Charles Darwin's
landmark thesis on evolution. By some odd coincidence
I watched that particular episode and then, only a couple
of days later, spent an evening at the cinema with Beloved
Girlfriend watching "Creation",
a recently released feature film about the life of Charles
Darwin. It concerns the time when he wrote "The
Origin of Species", a much more emotional enterprise
than you might have guessed, due in no small part to
of a beloved child and the religious implications it
had on the Darwin household. This was, you must remember,
an era when belief in God as the creator was hard-wired
Victorian society so he was definitely swimming against a raging
tide of popular opinion.
Brave man, this Darwin.
Based on the book "Annie's
Box" (Annie's what? Stop that!) this
BBC production had trouble finding syndication in the
were up in arms
over its subject
But it finally opened in the States and I heartily recommend
it, unless you're the type that has to have bare boobs,
car chases or explosions to make you cough up your $9
entry fee. It's well-acted, intelligent and, oddly enough,
a love story, too.
Four stars and two opposable
thumbs up. Way up.